Sundance 2021: What Has Sold So Far, From 'CODA' to 'Flee'

Films like “Together Together,” “The Most Beautiful Boy in the World” and “Prisoners of the Ghostland” all pre-sold ahead of the festival

How will the pandemic affect the sales market at Sundance this year? Virtual or not, experts who have spoken with TheWrap agree that the market will be “robust” at the 2021 festival. Although many films’ theatrical plans remain uncertain, streamers and indie distributors alike are in the hunt for content, and we’ve already seen a record-breaking sale that trounced last year’s record. The good news is that there are still plenty of buzzy titles looking for homes, and a few even pre-sold before the festival began.

“CODA” – Apple  •  Sian Heder’s “CODA” about a hearing girl in a deaf family who joins the school choir was an instant crowdpleaser. The film sparked a heavy bidding war that resulted in Apple coming away with the film for a whopping $25 million, way more than the $17.5 million that set a record last year for “Palm Springs” from both Hulu and Neon.

“Jockey” – Sony Pictures Classics  •  Sony Pictures Classics picked up “Jockey” ahead of the film premiering at the festival. The drama stars Clifton Collins Jr. as an aging racehorse jockey, and the film features a supporting cast of real-life jockey athletes.

Prisoners of the Ghostland” – RLJE Films  •  RLJE Films previously released Nicolas Cage’s other art house, cult action films “Mandy” and “Color Out of Space,” and the distributor teamed up with Cage again for Sion Sono’s “Prisoners of the Ghostland,” which is a mashup between Westerns, samurai films, action movies and post-apocalyptic thrillers.

“Together Together” – Bleecker Street  •  Ed Helms and Patti Harrison star in this comedy about a straight, single man who hires a young, single woman to be a surrogate mother for his child, only for the two of them to form an unexpected friendship. Bleecker Street picked up North American rights to this film shortly after the lineup was unveiled, and the film is playing in the U.S. Dramatic competition.

“Flee” – Neon  •  Neon picked up this film playing in the World Documentary competition that is part archival footage and part animated in its tracing of a teen fleeing from multiple countries. “Flee” is directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen and is executive produced by Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and it finally made its debut at Sundance after being a selection of Cannes 2020. Neon picked it up for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.

“The Most Beautiful Boy in the World” – Juno Films  •  Juno Films acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to this documentary about Swedish child star Bjorn Andresen, who became a sex symbol after he was discovered by Italian director Luchino Visconti and dubbed “The Most Beautiful Boy in the World.” The film picks up with Andresen now in his elderly years, as he tries to put his life back together. The movie is playing in the World Documentary competition and will open in theaters in May.

“A Glitch in the Matrix” – Magnolia Pictures  •  Magnolia announced it had the worldwide rights to Rodney Ascher’s documentary “A Glitch in the Matrix” shortly after the Sundance lineup was revealed and has plans to release it on Feb. 5 shortly after it premieres. The documentary explores the idea popularized in “The Matrix” that we might all be living inside a computer simulation and speaks with individuals, who wholly embrace this ideology and the film itself as though it’s a religion.
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